<p>In a picture taken by an onboard camera, an engine nozzle glows orange with heat as the <a id="sjgn" title="Falcon 9" href="http://www.spacex.com/falcon9.php">Falcon 9</a> launch vehicle nears a circular orbit 155 miles (250 kilometers) above Earth.</p><p>On June 4 the Falcon 9—built by commercial spaceflight company <a id="fdkm" title="Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX)" href="http://www.spacex.com/index.php">Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX)</a>—successfully completed a test launch into Earth orbit carrying a mock-up of the company's Dragon cargo capsule.</p><p>With the space shuttle fleet due to retire by the end of the year, NASA has contracted SpaceX to provide at least 12 flights using the Falcon 9-Dragon combo to ferry supplies to the <a id="fweg" title="International Space Station" href="http://science.nationalgeographic.com/science/space/space-exploration/international-space-station-article.html">International Space Station</a>.</p>

Flight of the Falcon 9

In a picture taken by an onboard camera, an engine nozzle glows orange with heat as the Falcon 9 launch vehicle nears a circular orbit 155 miles (250 kilometers) above Earth.

On June 4 the Falcon 9—built by commercial spaceflight company Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX)—successfully completed a test launch into Earth orbit carrying a mock-up of the company's Dragon cargo capsule.

With the space shuttle fleet due to retire by the end of the year, NASA has contracted SpaceX to provide at least 12 flights using the Falcon 9-Dragon combo to ferry supplies to the International Space Station.

Image courtesy SpaceX

Space Photos This Week: Falcon 9, Jupiter Impact, More

A commercial craft heads into orbit, a fireball smacks Jupiter, a new planet hunter debuts, and more in the week's best space pictures.

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